LeBron helps rout Cavs, but says he wishes team ‘the best’

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MIAMI | Once again, LeBron James helped the Cleveland Cavaliers reach a milestone in the NBA standings.

First to 40 wins one year.

First to 40 losses the next.

Dwyane Wade scored 26 of his 34 points in the first half, James finished with 24 points and eight assists and the Miami Heat beat the Cavaliers for the third time since the two-time MVP changed cities, winning 117-90 Monday night to hand Cleveland its 21st straight loss — as many as it dropped in the entire 2009-10 regular season.

Cleveland (8-40) is now two losses shy of tying the single-season NBA futility streak record shared by the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and 1997-98 Denver Nuggets. Overall, the Cavaliers have lost 31 of 32 games, along with 24 straight on the road.

“I have nothing bad to say about the players that I left and the team,” James said. “I wish the organization the best. And I wish the fans, more than anything, the best because we had a lot of great years together.”

They might be hard-pressed to remember those now.

This game had a few moments of hope for the Cavaliers. They were down by 19 in the first half, when Wade was almost unguardable for stretches — one of his dunks, off a pass from James, was so spectacular that rap moguls Sean “Diddy” Combs and Rick Ross leaped from their courtside seats.

Quietly, Cleveland started putting together good stretch after good stretch, getting within 70-67 in the third quarter.

Was this going to be the night?

Not a chance.

James had nine points in a 19-5 run to close the third quarter, Miami’s lead was 89-72 entering the fourth, and it turned into a romp from there.

“We played pretty good in the third quarter,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. “I thought they just took it to another gear. They’ve got the type of team that can do that.”

The Heat (34-14) moved within 2½ games of Boston for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 12 points and a season-high 14 rebounds against his former team, Eddie House also scored 12 and Chris Bosh added 10 points for Miami.

For Cleveland, Antawn Jamison finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Manny Harris scored 20 points and J.J. Hickson added 14. The Cavaliers were outrebounded 49-39.

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